( When I wrote this, seven years ago, I hardly realized we would be experiencing our own “Thunderdome” in so short a time. As I reread this I realize the film I was contemplating has important messages for us right now.)
When we think of dystopian literature we often think of books or films like 1984 or Brave New World. Neither of these classics deliver a positive feeling about the drift of world affairs. They feature lapses of humanity into Tech and media controlled totalitarianism and eugenics. They are good warnings and I think that is probably their main purpose.
Another work, however, that I admire offers strong hope through old-fashioned human faith, ideals and heroism. After being shocked by the first two classics mentioned, this as a follow-up offers a great incentive to action in our direction of World rebuilding. A good reading and watching list, for this time of contemplation.
The character of “Mad Max” in Beyond Thunderdome, so well played by Mel Gibson, is a hero every bit as much as Hercules was. After his great fight in the arena of Thunderdome, Max is cast into the outer regions by “Aunty” (Tina Turner). Then comes a high point of the film when a rugged girl named Savannah Nix, played by Helen Buday, finds Max where he had been left in the desert to die. Savannah carries him back to an oasis where, for years, she has been playing mother to a group of children who had been in a plane wreck during the apocalyptic war (which the group calls the Pox Eclipse). She thinks Max is the “Captain Walker” who had flown them away from a bombed city and crashed near the Oasis. He had originally gone for help but never returned. The group had created a tribal oral tradition which they referred to as a “Tell.” I found it extremely moving to hear the statement told by Savannah which begins “I’m looking behind us now, across the count of time to history back…” in a beautifully simple way she tells of their survival at the oasis and their hopes of one day being returned to civilization though Max is adamant in denying he is their lost Captain, he non-the-less lives up to their expectations by getting them safely to the ruined city of Sydney, Australia. In the closing scene Savannah gives one more “tell” which I give in its entirety.:
“Time counts and keeps countin’, and we knows now finding the trick of what’s been and lost ain’t no easy ride. But that’s our trek, we gotta’ travel it. And there ain’t nobody knows where it’s gonna’ lead. Still in all, every night we does the tell, so that we ‘member who we was and where we came from… but most of all we ‘members the man that finded us, him that came the salvage. And we lights the city, not just for him, but for all of them that are still out there. ‘Cause we knows there come a night, when they sees the distant light, and they’ll be comin’ home.”
“Who we was, and where we came from;” an appropriate thought for all of us in these latter days. We all need to cling to whatever “tell” we have of our better selves and our better history. To never fall prey to Totalitarian planners who try to insinuate themselves in our time of stress. We will hold on to our faith and to our ideals of freedom and individuality. We will never be branded and guarded slaves nor allow others to be, ever again. Regardless of the odds we will make our way back to those often forgotten lights of our past. The lights that we know in our hearts are most truly home.